Virginia DEQ addresses Bristol, Va. landfill worries

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BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released a response to Bristol residents who have expressed concerns regarding the city’s landfill.

According to the DEQ, the department has “issued three notices of alleged violation to the City of Bristol regarding issues at the Bristol, Virginia Integrated Solid Waste Facility landfill.”

The release states that the city and the DEQ are working closes together to fix the problems. The city has drilled new “landfill gas collection wells” which the department says should aid in the collection of the natural byproduct of the waste.

DEQ reports the wells will have to be connected to the existing infrastructure, a step that ought to be finished by the end of 2021.

“Odors associated with the landfill are likely until the work is complete, but should significantly decrease once landfill gas well enhancements are finalized,” the release states.

The DEQ reports that its crews regularly visit the landfill to check on activities and the status of the wells. DEQ crews state that as of Wednesday, they have only noticed “very wet and high decomposition of organic waste,” which could potentially be a factor in the noticeable odor and temperature shift.

“DEQ takes these matters very seriously and we are fully committed to protecting the health and environment in all communities,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “DEQ regional and Central Office staff have been actively engaged with air sampling efforts in communities on both sides of the state line, and are working in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to ensure communities are protected against any potential harm.”

On Tuesday, the Bristol Tennessee City Council met to address ongoing concerns over the landfill. Ultimately, the council decided to conduct its own independent public health assessment before taking any further action.

The landfill has been an ongoing topic of concern in Bristol; however, state environmental officials stated over the summer that despite high levels of benzene appearing in tests, there were no public health risks discovered.

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